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Supply, Stewards & Secretarial Branches

The Providers

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Supply Division

One could write about the Supply and Secretariat Branch in many ways, because there are so many facets to our line of business. One could list the characters involved - from the Stores Chief Petty Officer (V), sitting in his desirable residence along the Burma Road with transistor radio blaring in his right ear-hole; to the Chefs in their galleys sweating over the heat of the ovens - not an enviable task theirs in the tropics; from the Stores Petty Officer (S) and the scribes poring over ledgers in the ship's office, and answering from time to time such questions as "Have we any spare sparking plugs for motorised bicycles?" or "Why don't I get more pay?"; to the Stores Assistants burrowing like moles in their stores throughout the ship ably assisted by the Tankies, and the Butcher in his duffel coat; or the Stewards manfully trying to keep pace with the officers' drinking habits.

One could give vital statistics - no, not like the ones in the stewards' messdeck - such as that we have eaten 128,136 eggs and 58,772 lbs. of bread since we commissioned (one would not dare to count the chips); or, very creditable this, we have deposited £11,207 in the Post Office Saving Bank; or that we carry over 10,000 different items of naval stores and have had to use 21 different currencies during our travels.

We have shared messdecks with the EMs and the MEs without causing too much friction - we have, I am sure, had some good runs ashore. We may occasionally run out of the odd electronic valve, but so far at any rate we haven't run out of food or money, or rum. The rest of the ship's company in these modern days seem to be divided up into "users" and "maintainers", so let us say that the Supply Branch, as "providers", have managed to keep the users maintained, and have been of use to the maintainers.

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